*Read John Williams’ biography here
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
The 1987 fourth (and final original) Superman movie again stars Christopher Reeve, with Gene Hackman returning as Lex Luthor, and Sidney J Furie directing. In this movie, Superman’s nemesis, Lex Luthor, creates and evil solar-powered version of Superman called Nuclear Man
John Williams was the composer on the first movie and scored the well known main Superman theme (the first of the two clips below). It’s said that Williams liked that the film had a theatrical camp feel to it and didn’t take itself too seriously. This score was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Score but lost to Midnight Express.
It was hoped that Williams would return for Superman IV but due to scheduling conflicts he was unavailable. Instead he recommended his friend and collaborator Alexander Courage and also agreed to contribute some new material. The result was that Courage adapted Williams themes, meaning the score isn’t attributed to Williams, but three arrangements on the soundtrack are original Williams compositions (the second clip below).
The original Williams compositions were attached to three new characters:
– Lacy’s Theme: she’s set her sights on Clark Kent and this motif is a sultry, sexy one with a tenor saxaphone solo featuring
– Jeremy’s Theme: this a young boy who asks Superman to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world and his light and joyous
– Nuclear Man Theme: used when Superman fights Nuclear Man. This piece is dark and dramatic. However I did read a comment that when you play this softly it has a comedic feel which has overtones of some of Williams’ later work (check out the upcoming “H” post for comparision…)
Which is your favourite motif? Mine is the original Superman Theme – I’ve always loved a good fanfare.